No matter which way gas prices go – up or down – it’s always important to be mindful of your personal safety at any gas station.

The unique setting of a gas station allows thieves to catch you by complete surprise — when you’re pumping gas or making a quick purchase inside the convenience store. Most of the time, gas station customers leave their car doors unlocked and items like purses and wallets are often left in plain view. A thief is able to drive up next to the victim’s car, open an unlocked door, and grab any valuables within reach. Then, the thief quickly drives off. It can happen in a matter of seconds.

But these thefts can be easily prevented if the appropriate precautions are taken. The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department recommends the following tips to prevent citizens from becoming victims of theft at area gas stations:

  • Pick stations that are well-lit and have video surveillance cameras at the pump;
  • Always remove your keys and lock the doors while you are pumping gas;
  • Keep valuables out of plain view in your vehicle and lock the doors even if you are going inside for a moment;
  • Pay attention to your surroundings;
  • Don’t let your cell phone distract you.

And, finally, if you are going to pay for your gas inside the cashier’s office, please do not leave your children in the vehicle, regardless if your doors are locked or not. Take your younger passengers inside with you. It might seem like a hassle, but consider the alternative.